" I believe you don't stop hiking because you grow old. You grow old because you stop hiking." - F. Mitchell
This quote speaks volumes. I was just telling my mom the other day how important it is to keep moving. Folks try and tell me they are to old to climb this mountain. As far as I know, 94 is the oldest person we have had hike to the lodge. I know ailments can bring a person down, I guess I am working on the mind over matter theory. This is part of my training for Kilimanjaro. We see hikers every year who are in their 80s. This gives me hope for my future. I know how important it is to keep hiking those mountains.
Now, for all my friends out there who "need" to know the temperatures. LOL... The high was 47 with a low of 31. It has been another beautiful day up top. Today is the last day to enjoy any of our day hiker services. Lace up those boots and come see us.
It was a festive mood on the mountain. Even the guests were having a grand time. The Simmons party decided to have a "Best Hat" competition. The crew had the pleasure of naming the "Best Hat". We picked the santa hat. You can not tell in this photo, but the hat lights up, sings, and dances. It was judges choice for sure. We are still enjoying beautiful, cold days. The high was 42 with a low of 29. The forecast looks as though we are going to coast off the mountain with some spectacular weather. I know you are all looking forward to JP returning. He will begin his second winter blogging on Thursday. Just a few more days and hopefully he will have some winter wonderland photos, or warm mountain photos, to share.
Sorry to be posting so late. I had a bird to tend to. Today is the crew's Mountain Thanksgiving. It is a big celebration for us. I have been cooking for three days and am glad to say it was a hit. It is a gorgous day to be on the mountain, to bad I am now suffering from a food coma. The high yesterday was 47 with a low of 36. JP should be hitting the summit tomorrow night. The season is almos over. Now time for a nap.
Before you ask, the answer is yes. This photo was take pre-snow. I am sorry I had to go to the archives for todays photo. I have started the annual cooking festivities for the crew Thanksgiving dinner on the mountain. I started cooking yesterday and will be in the kitchen all day until tomorrow's lunch. The crew says it is the best meal of the season, so I take pride in feeding them well. They have worked so hard all season and the least I can do is put on a spread for them. We do still have patches of snow around camp. It is slowly melting. The high yesterday was 42 with a low of 28.
We had another report on Bullhead from a man who is an avid hiker and off trail hiker. So, when he said Bullhead was tough, I took his word for it. He said there were a few bigger trees towards the top that were tricky to get around. He had to hike up and climb around them. I would say that Bullhead is impassible. I don't know that the park service will be able to get to that trail for some time. I know the trail crew staff is pretty minimal, and busy, this time of year. We did receive word that the Boulevard trail is now open.
Time to put on my apron and resume the festivities. Have a great day.
" I believe there is a certain sense of awe and renewal for anyone who spends much time exposed to nature." - Bill Irwin.
I posted yesterday about the experiences I am looking forward to once the season is over. I wanted to add that I would not trade my experiences on the mountain for any of life's pleasures off the mountain. I consider myself blessed everyday that I wake up to the beauty this mountain has to offer. I may be ready for some rest and relaxation for a little while, but by the time spring rolls around, I am hungering for the mountain top.
It is starting out to be another amazing day up top. The high yesterday was 48 and the low was 25. I met a guest last night who was telling me he was somewhat addicted to logging on and finding out what the temperature was on the mountain. I told him I would look for a support group for him, but in the mean time, I will keep feeding his addiction by supplying the highs and lows.
I received an email from a couple of people who braved Bullhead. The hikers stated that there were numerous trees down along the trail. A lot of them were difficult to pass. One hiker stated they would describe the trail as impassible. I thought you would want to know this information when planning for future hikes.
Alum, Rainbow, and Trillium are all passable. The llamas made their first ascent in two and half weeks. They had no issues on Trillium. The snow has melted for the most part. There are not a lot of icy spots left that you can not navigate around.
The last week of the season is proving to be an outstanding one. The weather is holding out. The high yesterday was 48 with a low of 29. If this keeps up, we won't have any proof of the snow by the time JP makes it up the mountain. That's ok. I took pictures for him. The crew has kept the tradition alive of, " this is my last office shift. This is the last time I will have to mop. etc. ". Then I like to tell those who are returning, " Until next season." We are starting to talk about the things we look forward to while having the winter off. I treat myself to one day of staying in my pajamas all day. I build a fire, watch old movies, and stay curled up on my couch all day. I only do this one time a year so it makes it extra special. One of the crew said they were so excited to do their laundry in a real washing machine. It makes a difference when you are used to using a sink and wash board. I am also excited to have a bathroom under the same roof. Oh, the little things in life that bring us joy.
Some one asked about probabilities of fires on the mountain. I will say this is one benefit to living in a temperate rain forest. The ground is to saturated to burn. Mt. LeConte receives, on average, around 81 inches of rain a year. Some years are more some are less. We are the wettest place in Tennessee. The moisture makes it a really hard place for something to catch fire and spread.
Trail conditions are improving day to day. The Boulevard trail is still closed due to downed trees and broken cables. The other trails should be in good condition. They may be wet with snow melt, but they are passable. I have seen a lot of hikers without traction devices. I think the ice has melted enough to make it safe.
I decided to get out of camp and take a stroll down Trillium. For the most part, the last mile is clear. There are still patches of ice and snow. This section in the picture was the iciest section I saw. The icecicles clinging to the rock wall made for a beautiful winter display. It was a chilly day up top. The high was 35 with a low of 18. It is already 31 this morning. The day is looking like it is going to be a bit warmer with bright blue skies.
I had someone ask about hiking in these conditions. They wanted to know the proper clothing to wear to stay warm and dry. Layers is the key word. You want to be able to regulate your body temperature by adding or taking off layers of clothing. When I started hiking up on Friday, I was bit on the cold side. I quickly warmed up. I was able to add layers as I got to the top and that helped me stay dry and comfortable. You want to make sure you have extra dry clothes to change into when you reach the top. You will become chilled when you stop moving. I always carry my hat and gloves in my pocket. This way they are easily accessible when I need them. If you are day hiking, make sure you know what time it is and what time the sun is setting. Please make sure you have enough time to hike down. If you enjoy night hiking and have a dependable flashlight, no problem. I have met to many hikers in the past couple of weeks that did not pay attention to the time and did not plan on hiking in the dark. Please, be prepared for every scenario. The last advice I have is drink, drink, drink. I am talking about water. Even though it is cold out side, make sure you stay hydrated. I see more cases of dehydration on this mountain then any other medical issue. It does not matter the temperature out side, you still need to drink plenty of water. I hope you will get out and enjoy this beautiful time of year. Happy hiking and stay safe.
Rain and wind are a great combination for melting snow. We received .71" of rain yesterday. The high was 43 and the low was 19. The temperature is dropping. Thank goodness it stopped raining before the temperature dropped. The melting snow will turn to ice, with these low temperatures. This means there will be patches of ice on the trails. Alum and Rainbow are good to go. Trillium has a few trees down and there is a land slide on the upper section of Trillium. We hope to have that taken care of today. We are looking forward to a few days of sun and warmer temperatures. It is nice seeing grass again.
"Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather."- John Ruskin
That was one crazy night of wind. We received a little over half an inch of rain, but the wind was ridiculous. The good news is the snow is melting at a record pace. I see grass that I have not seen in two and half weeks. The high yesterday was 57 with a low of 36. It is not raining at the moment, but the wind is still outragous. The llamas will not be making it up today. There are some rather large trees that came down over night on Trillium Gap trail. I am sure there are more trees down on other trails. I will know more once hikers make it up. If you are hiking up today, take your time and be safe out there.
Boulevard trail update - the park service has closed the Boulevard trail due to downed trees, broken cables, and icy patches that are north facing and take awhile to melt. They do not have the man power to get a trail team out to do the required maintenance at the time. The trail is closed until further notice.
Yes, you read the title of this blog post correctly. I not only felt the earth move, I heard the pots rattle, and felt the counter shake. I experienced my first ever earthquake on top of LeConte. I have heard stories of other crew experiencing them, but this was my first. I have seen it being talked about by friends in Lexington, Knoxville, Gatlinburg, and Asheville. It was a 4.3 and the epicenter was near Whitesburg, KY. As of now, the buildings are shaking for another reason. We are experiencing some crazy wind. I was about blown off the deck when I went out to capture the sunrise. I am sure the folks who made it out to sunrise at Myrtle were hanging on for dear life. We were just informed by the park service that there is a high wind advisory going into effect this evening. Are they sure there is not one already in effect? The good news is the snow is melting. We are down to a mere 9". The high yesterday was 56 with a low of 35. These higher temperatures and wind will help to melt the snow quicker. In the meantime, I will put on my ruby red shoes, just in case. I want to make sure I can make it home to LeConte.
Welcome to the official blog of LeConte Lodge. We hope you find the information provided here both helpful and enjoyable. Thank you for visiting the site, and we hope to see you on the mountain!